The USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) requested comments regarding possible increased TTAB involvement in settlement discussions for the proceedings before the Board. We submitted comments last week in response to the Board inquiry. I have posted the full comments below.
John Welch of TTABlog® has summarized and linked to the comments of several other individuals and organizations.
Here is a brief summary of our comments: Currently, the Board already requires some discussion of settlement in initial discovery conferences. The Board is also active in encouraging ACR as an option for a quicker, less expensive resolution. Experienced trademark practitioners already know that the overwhelming majority of proceedings at the Board are settled or resolved without a final opinion, and that settlement is usually driven by business, financial, or strategic concerns beyond the question of registrability. As a result, we do not believe that changes to the Board procedures or investments of time or resources in settlement discussions by Board personnel are likely to have a significant impact on the number of cases resolved without a Board opinion. However, we believe that other measures may have such an impact, and we have provided some ideas for encouraging more settlement discussions and more equitable outcomes, many of which are aimed at reducing the overall length of TTAB cases.
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